Introduction and launch timeline

Congratulations, and welcome -- you're now one of the many school chapters that comprise the Project for Better Journalism network. We're so excited to have you!

This documentation site provides advice and guidance on how to use your PBJ news website. It's not intended to serve as the last resort for your concerns, but rather as a useful reference and starting point for your questions. It's also a public resource-- feel free, for example, to share it with your students.


We're always here to help.

With PBJ you have access to a large support structure and resource network -- and you never have to worry about paying a single cent.

We offer three types of support -- email, phone, and video screen-share -- and all accessible with a simple email request. After your introductory training call, you can also request that the full contents of the interactive session be repeated, for you or your students. (There are no limits to how much support you can request -- within reason, of course.)

Have a feature you're curious about? Do not feel like your idea is impossible; we routinely make changes and additions for our chapters. Reach out to us and we can start a conversation.


Bookmark the PBJ status report.

Our servers are maintained by professional 24/7 technicians, and we utilize a state-of-the-art monitoring system that immediately notifies us of any downtime.

That being said, while very unlikely, infrequent infrastructure outages are an inevitable part of life on the Internet. Our live status report provides up-to-date information on any outages or downtime that may occur. Bookmark it for easy access.

The launch timeline

Submit your chapter school agreement and your demographics form.As soon as possible.
PBJ processes your chapter school agreement.Within 1-2 business days of receipt.
PBJ launches your site.After 3-5 business days.
Schedule and complete an introductory training call.Whenever you prefer.
Set up your domain name and launch your website.Whenever you prefer.
(Domains take time-- more info.)

1. Submit your chapter school agreement.

After we accept a school to our program, we move fast -- but we can't do anything until we receive a copy of your chapter school agreement. You should also ensure you have completed your introductory call with a staff member and submitted your demographics report.

2. Let us launch your site.

After all documents are received and processed, our technical resources team will set up your website on a temporary website. We'll ask you a few questions to facilitate and customize this process, so you should look for an email from a member of our team.

3. Complete an introductory training call.

To make sure your first experience with your new website is positive, we always schedule a 30-minute introductory training call prior to giving you access. The call is completed over video share so make sure that you have a computer on hand. (Webcam recommended, but not required.)

On the call, a staff member will walk you through the entire control panel of your new website. Much of the content we cover is intuitive or also available on this documentation site, but we find that being able to ask questions on the spot makes a big difference.

The staff member should also discuss the credentials you'll use to sign into your new website and make that available to you immediately afterwards.

4. Get things going.

After the call, you should be equipped with everything you need to get started. We'll remain available to answer questions and we will check in after three weeks to make sure things are going well.

Most advisers will want to spend time setting up their new website and getting their students acclimated and comfortable. Some advisers will also want to migrate content from their old website; this is a process we can help with (more below).

5. Set up your domain name and launch your website.


Domain transfers don't have to be complicated.

See information on domain names and transfers for more information on this process.

PBJ pays for the domain names of its chapters. If you're using a new domain name, it should be configured on a timeline we will discuss with you (usually not long after we set up the website itself). See this page for information on domain name transfers from other services.

When you're ready to share your new website with the public, we recommend that you make a "hard launch" as opposed to a "soft launch". With a hard launch, the launch date is a hard day that many advisers choose to supplement with media coverage (in-school announcements, etc) and sometimes even a small event for their journalism students. (A soft launch, where the website is simply made live without any notice, may introduce confusion.)

6. Go forth and prosper.

At this point, your school is a fully participating member chapter of the Project network! As part of our chapter relations efforts, we'll check in with you and your website periodically to make sure that things are working well. If you win any awards, let us know -- although we might notice ourselves! And, at all times, feel comfortable with contacting us. We're here to help.